Tops & Bottoms

Tops & Bottoms

by Janet Stevens

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152928513
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/28/1995
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 29,033
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile: 580L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 7 Years

About the Author

Janet Stevens is the author and illustrator of many beloved picture books, including Tops & Bottoms, a Caldecott Honor Book. With her sister and co-author, Susan Stevens Crummel, she created the acclaimed best-sellers The Great Fuzz Frenzy,Help Me, Mr. Mutt!, The Little Red Pen and more. She is also the illustrator of the Epossumondas books, written by renowned storyteller Coleen Salley. Janet Stevens lives in Colorado. Visit her online at

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Tops & Bottoms 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
adrianneosmus on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Tops and Bottoms is a story about a lazy bear and a sneaky hare. The lazy bear has alot of property and the hare has a nothing but a hungry family. The bear agrees to let the hare plant crops on his land but he must give the bear either the tops or bottolms of the crops. The sneaky hare always finds a way to take all the vegetables and leave only the trash for the bear. I read this book to my toddler class over and over. It is a great book for children of all ages. The hare in this book reminds me of my sneaky brother who used to always play tricks on me and my sister.When I used this book in my toddler class we talked about vegetables and how each plant grows. We planted a garden and watched them grow over time. At the end of the week, we made vegetable soup.
ekean06 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This comical folktale is based in both Europe and the American South, and is the story of a bear that has lots of money and land, but is very lazy. It is also the story of Mr. and Mrs. Hare who have nothing but create a plan to trick the Sleepy Bear into letting them use his land to raise crops.
dylantanner on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Sneaky rabbit takes care of his misforunes by tricking the lazy and rich old bear down the way. Using Bear's land he promises to split crops. He plants tops (corn) when bear demands bottoms and bottoms (turnips) when Bear demands tops. Children's folktaleI read this years ago and never realized that this was European in its roots. I always thought it was from the south. It has that Brer Rabbit feel to it.A great trickster tale that doesn't rely on the raven or the fox to do it's work. As well the illustration is contemporary enough that students will engage the story itself, it's a flawless take on a classic tale.
lecowan on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This book has some really pleasant and colorful illustrations to look at. In this book, the bear is very lazy and the hare is driven out of necessity to provide for his family. After having a brilliant idea, the hare approaches the bear to business partners in a gardening adventure. Through various crops growing and the harvesting of specific ¿tops¿, ¿bottoms¿ and ¿middles¿, the hare and his family always reap the crops leaving the bear nothing but compost. This is a good book to teach children the value of hard work and that laziness does not reap any benefits.I liked that this story was able to convey the message of good work ethics in a creative way. I think it beautifully illustrated the value of hard work and the consequences of laziness in a very childlike, easy manner. I read this book to my children and they especially enjoyed looking at the observations and hearing about how the hare ¿tricked¿ the bear each time. To implement this book in a classroom setting, I think I would set up a scenario for the children to decide what the right thing to do would be for the given scenario. For example, I could set up the situation of baking a cake. I would have the recipe laid out for the students to look at along with all the recipes needed. I would ask the children if anyone would like me to help gather all the ingredients I would need. Those students that helped gather the ingredients would then have a seat and I would ask if any students would like to help mix the ingredients together and place the mixed ingredients in a pan and into the oven. When the cake had finished baking, I would then ask the students who would like to help me eat it. At that point, I would allow all of the students who had helped with making the cake to eat a piece and those who did not help would not be allowed to eat a piece of the cake. After the students who did not participate make the connection that working reaps rewards and laziness only reaps disappointment, I would then allow them to have a smaller piece of cake. This activity of baking the cake could also be used with a word wall and a fact page of the ingredients along with recipe directions the students had created.
conuly on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Rabbit needs to earn some money, so he decides to cheat his lazy neighbor, Bear.He borrows Bear's field with an agreement to split the harvest - tops or bottoms?Well, of course, when Bear picks tops Rabbit plants root crops; and when Bear picks bottoms Rabbit picks non-root crops; and when Bear insists on a season of *both* tops and bottoms Rabbit plants *corn* and takes the middle.Fairly lighthearted fare.There are a few notes.First, the book opens sideways, with one page on top and one page on the bottom. This can be a little awkward to read. Second, it's very tall, which makes it a little difficult to shelve. And finally (and really, this is minor, but it niggles at me every time), Rabbit gives the "worthless" beet tops to Bear, but beet greens are actually edible and very healthful! (Think chard, but a heck of a lot cheaper, and you get beetroot as well!)
JenniferHauschildt on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This book is about a lazy bear and a sneaky hare. Hare tricks bear thoughout the book. Hare said they will split the vegetables, so he asks bear if he wants "tops or bottoms?" Bear said tops, so hare planted vegetables that grow under the ground, so he gave bear the tops (leaves). Next time, bear picks bottoms, so hare grows vegetables that grow about the soil, so bear got the roots. In the end, bear got up and did his own planting, and hare opened up a vegetable stand.Personal Reaction-This was a great story to teach kids about vegetables and how they grow differently. A lot of urban children just know about vegetables from the grocery store, not the farm. The pictures were very bright and detailed. The book also had a good moral about not being lazy.Classroom Extension Ideas -- This would be great for a unit on vegetables and how they grow. You could grow some vegetables in clear cups from seeds in the classroom.- The teacher could read this to their class and have every child name their favorite (or their least favorite) vegetable and tell if it grow on the top or the bottom.
Stephanyk on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This book is a Caldecott Honor Book that is appropriate for the second and third grade. The book is fairly long and has a lot of events happening at once in the pictures that older students would probably follow a long better. A lazy bear and a hungry rabbit become business partners at the beginning of the story. The rabbit gets to use the bear's field to harvest as long as bear gets half of the crops. Before harvesting the rabbit always asks the bear if he wants tops or bottoms. If the bear says tops, the rabbit plants carrots and gives bear the greens on the tops of the carrots. After this happens multiple times the bear gets angry and decides to harvest his own crops. At that point though the rabbit has enough food to feed his family.Uses in classroom:- Students can talk about why laziness is bad and how it affected the bear.- Students can draw other fruits and vegetable they would harvest and which part they would want to keep (the top or the bottom).- After reading this book to the class I could teach students about the different food groups. For example I would start off by asking what kinds of foods were presented in the book. Then I would draw a pyramid and put the foods in their rightful groups.
erineell on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Tops & Bottoms is based on European and American slave folklore that reminds readers that laziness profits nothing and hard work yields results. Specifically, the main character is a lazy bear that gets outsmarted by a starving hare. Bear continually sleeps through the seasons of planting and harvesting, while Hare and his family plant and reap the vegetables on Bear¿s lot. Three times, Bear makes a business deal with Hare and is left without any crops. Frustrated with Hare, Bear finally plants and harvests his own field. The illustrations in this book are detailed, colorful and crisp. They add to the story and extend the text. Between the construction of the book (to be read it must be turned vertically), the storyline and the illustrations this picture book makes for a great read aloud.Age Appropriate: 6 to 9 years-oldStevens, J. (1995). Tops & bottoms. San Diego: Harcourt, Inc.
theCajunLibrarian on LibraryThing 3 days ago
The captivating illustrations of sloth-like Bear slumping in his chair and sly Hare yanking garden weeds will hook readers, and the tricky deals Hare makes with Bear over splitting profits will keep them guessing what happens next.
StephanieWhite on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Summary:This book is about a lazy bear and his friend hare. Hare tricks bear by planting crops and harvesting either tops (lettuce, broccoli, celery), middles (corn), or bottoms (carrots, beets, radishes) while bear slept. Bear realized that he needed to work hard to earn his own harvest.Personal Reaction:I enjoy reading this book because our family has a vegetable garden. It is interesting to my daughters to read books that relate to our home. I also like reading this book aloud because it gives an opportunity to use different voices.Classroom Extension Ideas:This book makes a great addition to Great Expectation themes. It would also be a nice introduction to a gardening unit. I could bring in the vegetables featured in the book.
LSaurette on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Fun and enjoyable book to read aloud. Book opens from top to bottom instead of side to side.Great illustrations and lessons to learn.
mrcmyoung on LibraryThing 3 days ago
A trickster tale about a clever hare who takes advantage of a lazy bare, using his land to grow crops and offering the worst part of the vegetables each year (the bear ops for the top half, so the hare plants carrots and turnips). Every time the bear thinks he's caught on to the scheme, the rabbit pulls another fast one. I was delighted and surprised by every page and would love to read this book aloud.
kclopez on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Bear's father owned a farm, worked hard, and was a smart business bear. Bear however is very lazy all her ever wanted to do was sleep. Hare however was clever and didn't own any land. One day hare made a deal with bear, hare would do all the work and they would split the produce tops & bottoms. Hare tricked bear every time, so bear decided that he would grow his own products from now on. This would be a great book to get children to motivate them to become more independent and do their own work instead of depending on others.
dangerlibearian on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Little long for read aloud, odd format up and down instead of side to side, makes the book hard to handle. Rabbit fools bear, tops of foods for rabbit, bottoms/rubbish for bear, and then switching it up by planting different tops and bottoms every time. Very tricksy.
bookcat27 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
This story is a trickster tale that is based on European folktales and slave stories of the American South. It has a truly American flavor and characters that anyone can relate to. It reminds me of the Brier Rabbit stories. The theme is very traditional: one character uses his intelligence to best another character. In Janet¿s story, Hare does it not once, not twice but three times! I especially liked how she set-up the need for Hare to pull one over on the Bear. It seems that Hare lost a bet with a tortoise and he had to sell all of his land to Bear. The fact that Hare found three ways to do this was great. Teachers would find this a good book for predicting what was going to happen with each crop that Hare plants and how he managed to outwit Bear. I was trying to figure out the third way Janet was going to do this. I didn¿t come up with corn which has a top, a bottom, and a middle. How creative!
ampitcher on LibraryThing 3 months ago
a great book to promote handwork in this entertaining book of a bear and a rabbit
juanitaloo on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This book is excellent in so many ways no wonder it won the Caldecott Honor. The author and illustrator Janet Stevens carefully tied the illustrations into the text with so many details which communicate subtle points that the story can be told by the illustrations alone. First of all the layout of the book is from top to bottom instead of from left to right which ties in with the title. The title page illustrates a variety of vegetables with the crease of the book serving as ground level and shows which part of the vegetables grows above ground and which vegetable grows below. Secondly, the placement of the characters, Bear or Hare, on the page is dependent upon which part of the vegetable, top or bottom, Bear chooses to keep. In the first deal, Bear chooses the tops, so he is depicted on the top half of the book sleeping while Hare and his family are depicted on the bottom half of the book working. Thirdly, the story teaches a moral: Laziness brings decline while hard work pays off. Children will find the story entertaining through the vibrant illustrations and dynamic, engaging characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very clever book for children and adults will enjoy it, too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awsome book for children to learn how to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having met the author back in 2002 and used the book as part of a classroom story for third graders I enjoyed the book greatly. Unfortunately the nook did not do the book justice since it said there were only seven pages to the story and I was only able to get three of them. After looking online to purchase more books,I discovered that nook was having trouble with that particular book. Sure hope that things clear up soon.
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